Seven candidates filed to run for four seats on the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors by the time filing closed on Friday, June 22.
In the race for Seat 2, incumbent Supervisor Tim Sayre was unopposed in his bid to fill the remaining two years left in the term of the late Supervisor Gary Dunkley.
Three other seats each have two candidates seeking the post. Incumbent Supervisor Jennifer Hager is seeking a third them in Seat 1, challenged by Robert K. Carter Jr.
Keith Jordano and Joni Martin are running for Seat 3 to replace Supervisor Ralph Bair, who did not file for re-election.
Michael T. Johnson and John Rivera are running for Seat 5 to replace Supervisor Carol Jacobs, who also did not file for re-election.
Since there are only two candidates running for each seat, the elections will be held in November, not during the August primary election.
If re-elected, Hager would be the longest-serving member of the board now that supervisors Bair and Jacobs will be stepping down.
Hager, who is a school teacher and has served eight years on the board, said she wants to “keep up the good fight.”
“I don’t want to back down,” she said. “I don’t know the person running for my seat. We’re in a tough situation with this election and there being an extra seat.”
She feels confident that Sayre will do a good job serving alongside ITID President Betty Argue, whose seat is not up for election this year, in keeping up with the board’s current goals.
“I just didn’t feel right stepping down,” she said. “I have other goals for my personal self that I’m after. I’m going to be doing an Ironman competition, which is like a triathlon, and I have to give a lot of myself.”
Hager added that serving on the board can be stressful.
“My youngest is going to be 20 years old, so both of my daughters spent the better part of their teenage years being involved elsewhere,” she said. “Now they’re both at college and away from the house. It’s not that stressful, but it’s something extra added to the plate. Teaching is demanding, and I just feel like I owe it to myself to do something for me.”
Yet Hager also feels like she owes it to the people of the community to run again. “I feel like I listen to what they want, and that’s what I’m there for,” she said.
Hager’s challenger Carter did not return calls for comment.
Tim Sayre, past president of the Acreage Landowners’ Association, who was appointed to fill Dunkley’s seat after his untimely passing earlier this year, was unopposed in his bid for the remaining two years of the term.
“I was appointed to Gary’s seat, so I figured I should just continue to fill his seat because that’s what the board’s wishes were,” Sayre said. “I’m looking into finances and different things, working with them on the R3 plan for the roads that we’re going to pave and seeing about the best way to handle all the expenses of that, and drainage. I’ve been asking all the right questions, I think, of the manager to see where we need to focus all of our efforts.”
Sayre stepped down as ALA president after he was appointed to the ITID board because he did not feel it was right to also lead the group that serves as a watchdog for the community, but he feels that experience qualified him as a supervisor.
“I’ve gone to every ITID meeting except one for three years now, so I’ve been on top of what they have been going over and what they’ve been talking about, and what they felt needed to be done or not done, so I think I come in with a pretty good knowledge of what’s going to need to be done,” Sayre said. “Obviously there is still plenty of stuff to learn.”
Jordano said that he is well placed with the community, running a local business and having a long community service background.
“I’ve been out here for 20 years in The Acreage and ran a successful business in the community,” he said. “I see a lot of things happening in the community, good and bad, and I think we need stability, honesty and a business sense to help run the board to get it going in the right direction.”
Jordano plans to only serve one four-year term and turn it over to someone else.
“I just want to give my expertise and my leadership abilities to try to improve morale and stability of the board, from the employment of the executive director down to the guys in the field, to get this ship going in the right direction, and then, hopefully, it will take care of itself,” he said.
Jordano said that he is concerned about how there has not been a manager that has stayed for more than a couple of years, and some members of the board have tried to overstep their role by going around the manager.
“This is a part-time job for people who should be community-motivated to do the right thing, not make a career out of it, not make it a full-time job, just direct and get out of the way,” he said.
Jordano served on the board of the Palms West Chamber of Commerce, which is now the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. He also served as president of the Royal Palm Beach Rotary Club and has been involved with life insurance groups at the state and federal level.
Martin has lived in the western communities about 14 years, first in Wellington and more recently in The Acreage.
“I absolutely love it out in Loxahatchee, and I love the people, and I started going to the board meetings a while ago, really just to learn about everything that was going on in the area, and I realized that a lot of things were really not getting done as they should if the board was running it in the proper way,” she said. “I felt like I should try to help things be better for the people out here because it’s really a special area.”
Martin said she would like to see a board that works more cohesively rather than see members trying to fulfill their own agendas. She wants to preserve the community lifestyle, but also work with nearby developers since they are not going to go away. “It’s pretty hard to stop development completely, but there’s definitely a way to be working with them in order to make things better for our community,” Martin said. “There has been a lot of dissention on the board the last couple of years.”
Martin added that she is friends with County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who got her interested in local government.
“I’m fascinated with how the area is growing and how it’s affecting everybody, and I’d like to be able to make a change and make people feel like they’re not being completely ruined by all of the development,” she said.
Johnson, who works for a family-owned produce farm in Belle Glade, has lived in the area for about a year and a half and wants to be involved in the community.
“We bought a house, we live out here now and plan to raise a family,” he said. “There’s so much going on, and I’d like to be right there on top of everything.”
He said the peaceful, rural atmosphere is what drew him to The Acreage, and he has been trying to keep up with local events through the local Facebook pages and the newspapers.
“It seems like the people have a lot to say, and I feel like a lot of the beliefs that I’m reading about, I have the same feeling,” he said. “By no means am I a politician, I just want to be a voice for the people. There’s so much influx of growth, and things like the City of Westlake, and a lot of people are concerned… I figured it would be a good opportunity to try to help.”
Johnson said that he is active with agricultural groups relating to the work he does with produce farms, such as Farm Credit, the Farm Bureau and the Young Farmers & Ranchers of America. He recently completed a leadership program to learn how to make a difference in the Glades where the topics included water management.
Rivera is a longtime area resident and active with the Acreage Horseman’s Association, currently serving as its president.
“I have been involved for years and years with the community,” Rivera said. “Some people are dreamers and some people are achievers. The only difference in the two is action, and that’s where I come in. Any time you want something done, I speak action. That’s exactly what I believe, that I’m going be a good person on the board because I’m an action guy. I’m not a dreamer and just talk and talk. I say what I want to do, and I do what I say.”
As a horse owner, he wants to get the equestrian community more involved.
“I really want to bring the equestrians more into our community,” Rivera said. “I see it fading away, and a lot of people are not happy with that. Really, we’re losing it little by little, but that’s only one of the issues.”
Traffic accidents are also a major concern.
“There are so many accidents and loss of life in these accidents,” Rivera said. “Obviously there’s something wrong with what’s here. I know in the past, they have done traffic studies, and it just goes back on the shelf after spending all the money on the studies. I want to know why, and maybe I don’t know the reason. Maybe it can’t be done, but I want to know what we can do. If it can’t be done, then that’s what it is, but if there’s something we can do, we need to do it.”